Friday, August 31, 2012


NatlDebt.jpg (24053 bytes)You gotta love the Republicans.  To paraphrase Henry Higgins, "they are so deliciously low."

But I just loved this photo.  The obvious response to this is "yes you did!"  I don't think this was quite the message that the convention intended to convey.

I loved The Daily Show's Samantha Bee, interviewing conventioneers about the Republican Platform, which states that life begins at conception and that no exception in the case of rape or incest will be allowed.

She asked a handful of delegates how they felt about it, and they all said they believed it completely.  Then she said that Romney had said he would allow exceptions for rape and incest and asked how they felt about that.  The answers were so beautiful, I just had to transcribe them.  Remember, these are delegates being interviewed about the republican platform and all of whom state unequivocally that they believe life begins at conception and there should be no exceptions.
SAM:  But Mitt Romney would allow for exceptions.
Delegate: If that's the choice he makes, that's his choice.
Delegate: He's allowed to choose
Delegate: I know the percentage is so small, so small of a person becoming pregnant from a rape that I just don't know if that's even in the equation. There have been some cases
SAM:  Yeah.  About 32,000 a year.
Delegate:  Is it 32,000?  OK.
Delegate:  We live in a free society. We live in America. It is up to any human being to choose, to decide what is best for themselves.
(remember these are delegates talking about Romney's right to allow exceptions to the no abortion policy)
Delegate:  Is it Romney's choice to be different from the platform?  Well, of course!  Who are we to tell someone how they should act?
Delegate:  We're not forcing Governor Romney to accept anything.
Delegate:  I don't feel that it's forced on anybody.
Delegate:  I do not believe for one second that he has made this decision lightly.
Delegate:  It's hard to make that decision unless you're the one in that situation.
Delegate:  It's not for me to judge.
Delegate:  Government has a purpose and we lose sight of that.  The purpose of government is to protect your individual liberties.
Delegate:  That's what the country is.  We're individuals and we get to be who we are.  Everybody gets to choose the path they choose because it's their choice.
...unless you're gay and want to marry, or have been raped and want an abortion...
This is the party of hypocrisy.

And did you see how many people (including a FOX News reporter, of all people!) pointed out the lies in Ryan's acceptance speech.
  • Ryan accuses Obama of shutting the GM plant (which was shut down while Bush was still in office)
  • Ryan claims taxpayers got nothing from the stimulus (The stimulus added 3.3 million jobs, cut unemployment by 1.8%, and grew GDP by 4.1%. Nothing is what the country got when Ryan and his fellow Republican obstructed the American Jobs Act.)
  • Ryan says Obama put the federal government in charge of Healthcare.
  • Ryan blames Obama the country's downgraded credit rating
  • Ryan hints Obama is a Socialist.
(For complate answers to all of these charges, check this page. You can also find it on Huffington Post, and a host of other links, including Sally Kohn of FOX news who describes Ryan's speech in three words: Dazzling, Deceiving, Distracting, and added that it was "an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies.")

But I am becoming superstitious.  I was so involved in the 2008 election, read everything, listened to everything.  But I come from a long line of losing candidates and I'm so afraid that I'm going to believe all the negative things about the Romney/Ryan ticket and confidently assume Obama will sweep effortlessly back into office.  I'm afraid to believe. 

I no longer have the audacity to hope.  I want to send in an absentee ballot and then crawl into a cave and come out after the votes are counted.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Prime Directive

I've been thinking about Star Trek today. Any Star Trek fan knows the Prime Directive is non-interference with cultures of other civilizations.

underwear.jpg (101665 bytes)I read kind of a weird book while working at Logos today.  It's by cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, who esssentially made his career on the Internet.  He would sit in bars doodling on business cards, creating his own version of "potshots" (a graphic with a short message).  People liked them and someone suggested he should start a blog.

I didn't bring the book home, so I can't quote from it, but it seems that he talks about the "old days," back in the early 1990s when blogging wasn't very common.

(Heck, I go back to the 1980s when there was no blogging.)

He talks about the way social interactions have changed in the past 20 years, how friendships and contacts are now made on the internet.  Someone told me recently that a lot of businesses don't even want resumes; they pick people from Linked In.  I had a wonderful email yesterday from someone who has been reading this journal for many years, but had never commented before.  

"A few years ago I never would have thought of writing such a "letter" as this  to someone I have never met nor had a correspondence relationship with," she wrote.  The internet has changed the way we live our lives in a very brief period of time.

I found this relevant because yesterday I finished reading the book, "Lost in Shangri-La" about a group of military people stationed in New Guinea at the end of WW II.  To pass the time and relieve the boredom they started offering fun flights over a newly discovered valley where they had found villages of prehistoric natives, who were rumored to be cannibals and who had never encountered modern civilization before.  The plan was to fly over the villages and then back to the base.  But things went terribly wrong.  The plane crashed, 22 of the 25 passengers were killed and the three survivors were in bad shape, with terrible burns and other injuries.

After a tortuous trip through the jungle to find a clear space, they were spotted by reconnaissance planes, but finding them and rescuing them were two entirely different things.  They were able to parachute medical help and supplies to them and set up a base camp with some 25 soldiers.  And they made friends with some of the natives, who agreed to set aside their war-like conflicts with other villages while the strangers from the sky, whom they thought were "gods," were there.

tribesman.jpg (29435 bytes)The natives had lived a happy, organized existence.  They were farmers, and they raised pigs.  They were fairly happy people.  "War" was something they did more as sport and it followed rigid rules. They had never seen clothing before, the concept of exchanging something for something else (in this case shells for food or jewelry) was foreign to them.  By the time the Army had figured out how to rescue the people on the island, the villagers had been changed forever by their encounter with these strange beings they had never seen before.

While the story was a technological triumph, in the end it was very sad.   "The province has the highest rates of poverty and AIDS in Indonesia.   Health care is woeful, and aid workers say school is a sometimes thing for valley children.  The Indonesian government provides financial support but much of the money ends up in the hands of nonnative migrants who run virtually all the businesses of Wamena.

"Elderly native men in penis gourds walk through Wamena begging for change and cigarettes.  Some charge a small fee to pose for photos.  More often they look lost."
The Army had violated the Prime Directive (even though this was many years before Gene Roddenberry thought of it!)

Update on the TV ... They have decided to repair rather than replace and it won't be ready until next week!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Short Post

"Airy Persiflage" is a mirror image to entries posted on my journal "Funny the World." Today's FTW entry mostly concerned testing a new guestbook, so I've eliminated that for this Blogger entry, since there is no problem with the Blogger guestbook.  Hence, what is left is a short entry!

I felt like I had kids back in school again, briefly, this morning.  Jeri spent the night here last night so Walt could take her to the train station at 6 a.m.   She's going to Santa Barbara to spend a few days there and then drive up to San Rafael with Tom et al. so we can all be here for my mother's 93rd birthday party later this week.  (My mother can finally meet Lacie, who will be a year old next month!)

She was getting up at 5, so I made sure I was up then to fix coffee (turns out she didn't have any...but she could have!).  But then I packed a lunch for her--sandwich, banana, carrots, and yogurt with a spoon.  Put it in a nice little sandwich bag and packed it with some flax seed vegetable chips that Walt had.  I haven't packed her lunch in about 20 years or more!  I thought I should have taken a picture of her with her bags in hand when she left for the train, just as I usually did on "first day of school"s.

When I looked at the Photo of the Day, I knew I had to play around with it for a bit.  I do love Photoshop!

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Tonight was the final production of the 2012 Music Circus season, Crazy for You, an extensive rewrite of the 1930 classic, Girl Crazy (a stage vehicle for Ethel Merman, movie version for Judy Garland). What a fun production. Noah Racey, the guy playing the Mickey Rooney part, was amazing.  I love stuff like that!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunday Stealing

 1. What type questions do you hate on a meme?
Mostly questions I can't answer because I'm nearly 70 years old and they are designed for much younger people (often I erase them and substitute a better question that is more my speed!)

2. If you married the last person you texted, what would your last name be?
Sykes!  (The last person I texted was Jeri)

3. Were you happy when you woke up today?

Oh yeah...there was actual light in the sky, which meant I'd slept all night.

4. When were you on the phone last? And with who?

To a friend I haven't seen in a very long time, who invited me to come and have coffee on Thursday.

5. Who are you excited for?

Who?  I can't think of anyone.

[there is no #6 in this meme.  I wonder why!]

7. Honestly, who was the last person to tell you they love you?


8. What's the last thing you put in your mouth?

Onion rings and a ham and cheese sandwich.  We were using a Groupon at The Grad in Davis

9. Have a best friend?

Sure.  Char.

10. Were you ever or are you scared to fall in love?

It was so long ago, I can't remember.

11. Do you think teenagers can be in love?

Of course.  All those raging hormones help.

12. Last person you wanted to punch in the face?

I'm not a violent person, but a lot of the politicians weighing in on rape lately might make me change my mind.

13. What time is it right this second?


14. What do you want right now?

Ice cream (we will have some as soon as Jeri gets here)

15. Who was the last person you took a picture with?

Walt.  See Photo of the day.

16. Are you single/taken/heartbroken/or confused?


17. When was the last time you cried?

I caught the tail end of the movie The Long Grey Line on Sunday and was actually sobbing because I vaguely remembered the story and the ending was sad.

18. Do you have a good relationship with your parents?

I did not have a good relationship with my father, but he died in 1987. I have a good relationship with my mother, but with her memory problems it's not the way it used to be, and that makes me sad.

19. Do you find it hard to trust others?

Not really.  If anything, I'm probably too trusting

20. How fast does your mind change?

Not very fast.

21. I bet you miss somebody right now. Who is it?

I always miss Paul and David...and Gilbert.

22. Can you honestly say you're okay right now?


Monday, August 27, 2012

First, Take a Pig

Ned's friend Jon turned 50 recently and since he's a big BBQ guy, he received a big roasting box, big enough to roast a whole pig.

Ned's best friend Greg's birthday was earlier this month, and Ned's birthday was Saturday.  So Jon decided to bring his big roaster to Greg's house and roast a whole pig in honor of the two birthdays. The pig has been staying for the last couple of days in the refrigerator of Stone Soup Catering, owned by Sara Clanton and staffed by friends and relatives of Ned and Greg. 

It was a combination swim party and BBQ and I was sorry I hadn't brought my bathing suit because the water looked so good.

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When we first got to the house, Ned introduced us to the hapless pig, quietly roasting under several pounds of hot coals.

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About the time we were leaving the pig area, our friend Glen was arriving. Glen's son was part of Lawsuit and Glen took all the photos of all those Lawsuit shows for ten years.  He and his wife Barbara came to almost as many shows as we did.   While Walt and I were in Europe, we received word that Barbara had died.  We knew she had cancer, but didn't realize that it was as bad as it apparently was.   Walt had just seen her and Glen at the supermarket the week before we left on our trip. 

We were so happy that Ned invited Glen to join us at the pig roast.   I think it was good for him to be around people--and he felt comfortable talk to us about Barbara's death because he knew we understood.

Soon it was time to release the pig and think about carving it.

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Food kept coming and coming out of the kitchen and everyone had their fill of everything.

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Since neither Ned nor Greg like cake, there were s'mores for dessert.

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After dinner, I took a picture of the Ladies of Stone Soup catering.

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Glen and I took our cameras to visit and photograph the sad pig carcass.

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We were home in time to feed the 3 dogs.  If I had thought about it, I would have packed up a little bag of pig to mix with their kibble, but, alas, I didn't think of it.

Tomorrow Phil heads back to Boston and Jeri will be taking the train to Santa Barbara the next day to spend some time with the So. California family.

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We love having them here each August, but the time always goes by so quickly!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Today is Saturday, but I worked at the book store.  I've skipped several days because of one thing and another so when Susan asked if I could work this afternoon so they could go to a book sale, I was thrilled to say yes.

Nothing monumental happened, but I did have some interesting experiences, primarily this very strange woman who came in and asked started looking at all the walls, looking for an electrical outlet so she could plug in her cell phone.   I noticed that the cash register was plugged into an outlet but pointed out that it only had one plug in the outlet.  She told me that was stupid and asked why they would have an outlet like that.  I told her I didn't know.  But then I found an outlet with an empty socket and plugged her phone in for her.

She started looking at the books at the front of the store.   While she was browsing a guy came up to buy a book about the 3rd Reich and I got into a conversation with him about our recent trip and how we had spent a day in Nuremberg.

He told me that his father was a scholar of German history and had recently read that Hitler didn't want his face to be printed on any coins because if he lost the war, he didn't want people to look at that and talk about his hubris.

After the guy left, the woman came over and said that she overheard us talking and that we had used the word "hubris" and wondered what it meant.

While I was explaining it to her, a girl came in to ask if we accepted donations.  I said that we did and she said she would get her books out of the car.  The hubris woman asked if she needed help, which she gratefully accepted.

When the books had been brought in the first woman told me I should give her a receipt.  I told her that we didn't do that (I had no way of knowing what the books were worth anyway).  The girl said she didn't need a receipt because she was moving back to Europe.

When she left, the first woman told me I should at least have offered her a book for her donation.  I was kind of flabbergasted and told her that we didn't do that.  She said that we should and told me to bring it up at the next staff meeting.  I told her we didn't have  staff meetings.  She seemed to think that was also dumb and started to argue with me about store policy.   I was getting a bit miffed with her by this point and was happy when she decided to leave.

A couple of minutes later, she was back to retrieve her cell phone, which she packed into her backpack, then asked if I wanted some fruit--an apple, perhaps, or a pear.  I thanked her but told her I didn't want any of her fruit and she finally left.

I was still shaking my head at the...uh...hubris...of arguing with me about the policies of the store and how we should change it because she thought she knew better how things should be run.

Late in the day, a guy came by with a stack of fruit boxes and asked if I wanted to buy strawberries.  I waved him away.

I also tried an experiment with my cell phone.  I just downloaded a high-def camera application on it and was thrilled that I had done so because when Scott Kelby talked about high def effects in PhotoShop, I knew what he was talking about, which I would not have if I had gone to the PhotoShop seminar two weeks ago instead of this week.

In a high-def photo, the camera takes three photos, one overexposed, one underexposed and one at the normal exposure.  It then magically combines the three so that you get one photo which has the best of all three, so that you theoretically don't have dark spots and you don't have light spots.

Here, for example, is a picture taken from the desk at the store with the regular cell phone camera

 2012-08-25_15-15-00_853.jpg (35574 bytes)

And here is the same picture, taken with the high-def function.

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Notice how the outside is still at the right exposure but how the shelves on the right and left are now also properly exposed?  This wouldn't work with moving subjects because you have to keep the camera steady for it to take 3 pictures, but I think it's a cool tool to have.

The plan after work had been to go to a local hamburger joint for dinner, since I had bought a Groupon for it that morning.  Walt, thus, did not go to the Irish pub for a beer before picking me up, because he knew he could get a beer at the restaurant.  Fortunately, I gave him the Groupon before we went into the restaurant because I had not noticed that it was not viable until tomorrow.  So we had to come home and I had to try to figure out what to fix for dinner, since I didn't have anything unfrozen.

It turned out that everything I decided to make was something that I usually would have made in the microwave, so I am realizing that I use the microwave much more than I thought I did!  Walt went microwave shopping while I was at work but didn't buy one because he didn't know if I wanted a microwave/convection oven or not.  At first I thought I did, but on further thought, I realized that it would just be a new technology to learn, and since I don't do all that much creative cooking, or entertaining any more, it was silly to spend $200+ more for a convection oven, when I've done very well with just the microwave.

And the TV is not back, so I came home and sat and read this evening.  Seemed strange. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Friday and Saturday

HBDNed.jpg (40315 bytes)
Happy Birthday, Ned!

I began yesterday by making my 41st blood donation at BloodSource. 
BloodSource824.jpg (39203 bytes)

I love going to BloodSource.  It's very near our house, it's like a big family when you're there. People remember your name and are so grateful that you've showed up.  Last time I donated, the place was other donors.   Yesterday it was full and people steadily coming in the frontdoor, which is so good to see.  They have a diary of sorts at the table where you get your snack afterwards, people recording how long they've been coming and why they donate blood.  I wrote something pithy and ended with "...but I miss the donuts."  BloodSource used to be located next door to a donut shop and they always had fresh donuts at the snack table.  For about a year after they moved into their plush new location, they continued to have fresh donuts.  But no more.  They have tons of choices, but I do miss the donuts!

As I feared, there was no word from the people who are holding our television hostage.  Sigh.

Jeri and Phil are in town and have been staying with my mother for the past 3 days, but arrived in Davis yesterday afternoon.  It's always "interesting" when the dogs are let into the house.  I let Polly in first, locking the other two outside for about half an hour.  That seemed to work well.   Polly barked and barked, but quickly calmed down and by the end of the night even let both Jeri and Phil pet her.  Amazing.

Jeri made friends with Sheila.

SheilaJeri.jpg (37351 bytes)

We had a taco dinner, which involved lots of bowls and lots of chopping, but was easy to put together as a do-it-yourself project.

Fortunately, I had not planned anything that needed microwaving, because the microwave broke.  I fear we are going to have to go shopping for a new microwave.

By the time they left, I was very sleepy (probably from all that loss of blood!) and went right to sleep instead of writing this journal entry.  The fact that I slept until 6 a.m. (with my usual two wake-up times) says that I needed it.

Today I'm doing a Saturday stint at the book store.

Friday, August 24, 2012


What's wrong with this picture?

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There is no friggin' TV on that cupboard!!!

It started a few days ago, when a band appeared on the top of the screen.  It was about 1/3 of the screen and kind of ghosted the picture that was on the screen.  

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The band was in constant flickering movement which was annoying, though I'll watch pretty much anything, so we put up with it.  We sat there for a couple of days hoping it would go away, but these things never do!

Today, Walt finally bit the bullet and called Costco, where we bought it in 2010.  September of 2010, which meant that our 2-year warranty would not be up until next month.  Good timing!  Much better than going out next month, which is usually the way things work.

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He was on the phone for about 20 minutes with a very nice man who had him do all sorts of things to see if they could fix the problem, but nothing did work, so he OK'd a trip to a repair shop -- in North Highlands, which is more than half an hour's drive from here. 
They are checking it out today and deciding if it can be fixed, and if it can't, they have to confer with Costco to see if they will replace it.  But in the meantime, there sits this hole in the family room.
It's not like we have no television.  I have my little TV here in my office, and Walt has one upstairs in the bedroom, but neither are comfortable for relaxing and watching TV (to say nothing of putting me to sleep).
I have a horrible feeling that since today is Thursday that it will be Monday before we know anything.  Fortunately we have a busy weekend.

And yes, I do realize that this sounds like an addict wondering when she's going to get her next fix.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mr. Photoshop

It's pretty safe to say that if I had not gone to Australia, I would have given up on Photoshop.  There were, at the time, lots of photo manipulation programs out there.  I had used a few.  Photoshop was by far the most complicated, the most difficult to learn, and I tend to give up pretty easily when there is a simpler alternative available.

But I usually woke up a couple of hours before Peggy and so as not to make noise, or get the dogs moving around, I would hide in the office and run her set of Photoshop tutorials.  By the end of six  weeks, I was comfortable enough with the basics of the program and enthusiastic enough about all the things I had learned that I came home and buried myself in on-line videos and written tutorials.  It became the only photo manipulation tool I ever used, and is still the only one I use.

I upgraded a couple of times. In those days, Peggy was able to get pirated copies of the new versions and shared them with me. But there was eventually a crack-down and I don't remember which version it was that didn't work. But about that time, there was a "you can't possibly believe it!" sale of the Photoshop CS3, just before they released the upgrade.  I bought the old version and I now own a registered version.

Of course they are now at CS6 and I haven't a clue how much it would cost to upgrade.
About five years ago, I read about a one-day Photoshop seminar coming to Sacramento and I decided to attend.  I came home so jazzed about all the things I'd learned that I unhesitatingly registered when the next one came around the following year.  I think I had attended four of them, each one filling me with such enthusiasm for the new things I was learning (90% of which I either couldn't do because I had an old version of the program, or forgot within a few days of taking the seminar...but 10% did stick and I continued to use the new skills when working with photos in PhotoShop).  

Kelby.jpg (3510 bytes)All of the seminars were led by Photoshop professionals, under the auspices of Kelby Training (the leading provider of education for Photoshop).  Guys who had worked with the program for years and who knew it inside and out.  But until this year the Big Kahuna had eluded me.  I had never had the chance to take a class from Scott Kelby, of Kelby Training, author of a gazillion books on all aspects of Photoshop, the guy on all those videos and on-line classes.  For me, Scott Kelby has always been Mr. Photoshop.
This year, the Sacramento seminar was led by Scott Kelby.  I can't tell you how excited I was to finally attend one of his seminars.

Was it because Scott was giving the seminar that the check-in line stretched down two hallways of the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium?

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Fortunately it moved quickly.  I wasn't concerned because I knew that there really is no bad seat in the house.  My preference is to sit at the back anyway.

I won't go into all the things about the seminar that excited me, since I know that there are a lot of people who don't use the program, but I will say that though I always leave these things eager to come home and do some experimenting, I have never felt that I got as much usable information as I did today.  Not only did I get usable information, but the whole thing was such a delight.  He was funny, informative, and made it all so accessible.  Best of all, though sometimes I get lost in some of the technicalities, I understood everything, followed everything and may even be more familiar with how to work with a video timeline than Scott (who is a photo guy and not at all interested in video, though you can make videos with Photoshop, if you want).

I am a happy camper and hope that he comes back again.  I will definitely take another Kelby seminar!

But my day didn't end at 5 p.m. when the seminar ended.  It was only half over.  I had found a book club through the Meet-Up web site and decided to check it out. The meeting started at 7, so I went to dinner at a restaurant across the street from the book store where the meeting was to take place.   (I had crab cakes and chocolate mousse and felt very decadent!)

At the appropriate time, I went across the street to the book store and sat down to join the two other people who were seated at the table.  Slowly the table began to fill up.  I think we had 15 people in all.  We were discussing "The Book of Illusions" by Paul Auster, which I had just finished.  I loved the book and had lots to say about it, as it turned out.  Instead of sitting back and being my usual shy self, I actually had to stop myself from talking too much.  The discussion was lively and interesting and it was a really nice group of people (men and women, but mostly women).  Next month's book is "Lost in Shangri-La" by Mitchell Zuckoff, which I have already started.  I think I'm really going to enjoy getting to know these people.

This has been a very full day.  I am happy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pavlov Lives

I decided awhile ago that I would feed the dogs when Jeopardy is over (7 p.m.).  Polly keeps trying to bully me into feeding her earlier, starting at 4 p.m., but lately she seems to have accepted that I won't feed her until after Jeopardy.

Tonight when the Jeopardy think music started for Final Jeopardy, suddenly all three dogs, who were sleeping in the living room, came running in, all happy and eager, ready for their dinner.

We have settled into a routine around here, possibly thanks to Polly, who runs the house and lets all of us know when it's time to do various things.

When it gets dark, the dogs, one by one over the evening, settle into the living room to sleep.  However, any time after 11, if I am sitting in the recliner and go to get up, all three are instantly in the family room, excited because I'm going to sleep!!!  I have pretty much given up sleeping in the recliner at the start of the evening because Polly just won't have it.  She will take it just so long, but then barks at me...time to go to the couch!  She is so happy when I stand up.

I go to the living room, take off my glasses, get my pillow and settle on the couch.  Immediately Lizzie leaps onto the table behind the couch and lies down, Polly jumps up and settles somewhere around the area of my waist, and Sheila first stands next to the couch so I can pet her (and if I don't she will keep nudging me until I do).  I pet her, tell her what a good girl she is, and she lies down next to me, where she sleeps for the rest of the evening, or until I wake up in the middle of the night.

I wake up around 3 or 4, get up and move to the family room.   Sheila then goes outside to sleep (because she really prefers to sleep out there, but feels she must be with me when I'm on the couch).

If I'm lucky, I am able to go back to sleep again and usually wake up anywhere from 5 to 7.

Now, waking up is very tricky.  The second my hand touches the lever to lower the foot rest, Polly needs to be fed NOW.  She has gone several hours without food.  She is ready to DIE if she doesn't get food IMMEDIATELY.  This morning I had a minor triumph.  It's garbage day and the dogs always go nuts when the garbage truck comes, so I sat in the recliner, not admitting I was actually awake (but able to change channels on the TV without Polly realizing it).  As soon as I heard the garbage truck coming and the dogs racing down the hall to the living room window to kill the garbage men, I quietly slipped out of the recliner and into my office.  Dogs didn't even know.  But when Polly came back into the family room and realized I was gone, she appeared at my feet, her head cocked and the funniest little questioning whine in her voice.

Tonight Walt went outside while the dogs were eating, to move yard stuff out to the curb to be picked up in the morning.  He locked the dogs inside because the back gate was going to be open.  The dogs didn't pay any attention until they finished eating, then Sheila realized Walt was outside and tried to let me know that the door was locked and she was on the wrong side.  When I didn't open the door for her right away, she issued on VERY demanding bark.  Sheila and I really do talk to each other, and understand each other. When I told her "no" she didn't ask again.

But the strangest "understanding" that I ever experienced was when I was getting the dogs' dinner ready one time.  Polly was leaping about excitedly, but Sheila was still in the back yard.  I turned to Polly and said "Why don't you go outside and tell Sheila it's time for dinner."  She whirled around, ran outside, barked once, and then came back in again, followed by Sheila.   I'm still amazed by that.

As for Lizzie, poor dear, her life is ruled by only two things:   her question for food and her quest for affection.  Any hint of my entering the kitchen is enough to bring her running in the hope that I might be going out there specifically to give her a treat...or (more likely) that I will drop something tasty on the floor.  She's pretty good about not taking food off the table, but today Walt fixed himself a nice roast beef sandwich, and then went to get the mail and came back to find Lizzie taking off with the top piece of bread.

In the evening, again on cue from Jeopardy, when the show starts, she climbs into my lap and just lies there on my stomach, eyes closed, with me petting her.  Lasts about 10 minutes and then she's done.

I do love these dogs.  And I love that we are so often in sync.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Here's a Howdy Do

How many times have I seen The Mikado?  I can't even begin to count them.  I first became aware of The Mikado when I read "Marjorie Morningstar."  Marjorie was cast as the title character in her college production by a director who thought that was the leading role.  According to the book, the girl playing KoKo fell apart and Marjorie took command of the stage and saved the show.  I knew nothing about the show at all at that time.

I actually saw it first in the 1960s when The Lamplighters were still performing at the old Harding Theater in San Francisco, in what was then a not very safe neighborhood.  I first saw Gilbert playing KoKo there and was so taken with the character he created that I dragged Walt back to see his performance over and over again.

Then, of course, the rest is history, with my joining Alison and Carolyn to write the first Lamplighters history, becoming best friends with Gilbert, going to all the shows all the time, seeing Mikado over and over again.  Seeing other productions, too, like the touring D'Oyly Carte company, productions at the International Gilbert & Sullivan festival in England, checking out productions on video (like the one by Groucho Marx).  And continuing to attend new Lamplighters productions of the show.

Mikado is my second favorite Gilbert & Sulllivan (Iolanthe is the first), and I am very particular about the person who plays KoKo.  Was Gilbert the greatest KoKo ever?  Probably not.  It's a very subjective decision and I'm sure there are hundreds of wonderful KoKos out there, that others think are "the best" KoKo.  But Gilbert is the standard by which I judge all the KoKos that I see.  

Longtime leading patterman Rick Williams was also a huge fan of Gilbert's KoKo and worked hard to equal it.  And he definitely was a great KoKo, absorbing Gilbert's portrayal and then building on that to make it his own, a role he played several times.  Others have played the role on the Lamplighters stage through the years with varying degrees of success.

I had heard nothing but wonderful things about the latest production, with Lawrence Ewing in the role of KoKo and when Walt asked if I wanted to go, of course I said yes.  I'm always happy to check out a new Mikado.
Aside:  When we went on our trip, someone had agreed (I thought) to review a show for me in my absence.  The show did not get reviewed because the potential reviewer decided that s/he had "nothing new to say about this particular show."  I took exception to that excuse.  IMHO, the role of a critic is not to educate the public about a particular work that has been reviewed to death already by far better critics, but to review the production.   I cannot begin to count the number of times that I have seen The Mikado, and if I were just to review the script, no, there is nothing new I could say about it, but this production was unlike any done at the Lamplighters before, was excellent, and is why I go to shows that I have seen 100 times see how the new production is!
(I had to add that remark because I have not let the reviewer in question know how much I disagree with his/her decision of why not to review a show and I'm still fuming about it!)
But I digress.

Comparing this new production of Mikado to previous Lamplighters productions may not be like comparing apples and oranges, but it could be like comparing oranges and tangerines.  Unmistakably a Lamplighters production, but with noticeable differences.  Tempos a bit slower in places...I am reminded of my very first "celebrity" interview, when I was part of a group of "press" (I was not yet officially "press") interviewing director Mike Leigh, who directed Topsy Turvy.  All of us Lamplighters who saw the movie together at a special screening couldn't understand why he took such v-e-r-y s-l-o-w tempos.  So that was my question--something about the tempos.  Leigh glared at me and snapped "Absolutely accurate." or something like that.  So maybe today's tempos were a blend of Lamplighters upbeat tempos and Sullivan's slower tempos!   I also decided I'd been going to LL shows for too many years when, after two beats on the drum, I realized that it was not Norman Peck, the LLs long-time percussionist!   (To my surprise, even Walt noticed the difference, both in the tempos and in the drummer.)

This is not as broadly comedic as previous productions of this show, though there were a lot of laughs at the re-written List Song, where KoKo lists all the people he would execute, if he had to execute someone.  Traditionally the humor comes from KoKo having a very long list that stretches across the stage.  This time he had an iPad and instead of showing the names on paper, pictures flashed on the subtitle board across the stage as KoKo flicked his finger across the screen of the iPad. 

A lot of places where I am used to hearing big guffaws from the audience were played more low key so that there were barely snickers, yet my favorite part, where KoKo offers his love to Katisha and she turns and roars at him, causing him to cower beneath her as he says "shrink not from me, Katisha" was perfect, unlike too many productions I see which waste this big laugh moment.

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As for Lawrence's KoKo, it was wonderful.  Absolutely nothing like either Gilbert or Rick, but entirely his own, and equally as terrific.  (You may cherish memories of Gilbert Russak’s Ko-Ko, but here comes F. Lawrence Ewing with a wholly different, mercurial, slippery take on the Lord High Executioner-in-spite-of-himself, says Robert Commanday former critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, now writing for San Francisco Classical Voice) This was a slightly more in-control KoKo, a bit smoother, less afraid of his own shadow. Also his moves reflected Lawrence's ballet training. (Ewing’s Ko-Ko was ever so wily and enchanting a con man, with fine delivery of Ko-Ko’s great numbers like the terrific takeoff on the operatic “willow song,” and with sleek moves, really danced. continues Commanday)

So even though this was just one. more. Mikado. it was a great production and I'm so glad we went.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Friends We've Never Met

MaryZ2.jpg (40071 bytes)The weird thing about meeting internet friends for the first time is that you aren't really meeting them for the first time.  You've actually been a part of each other's lives for years, but you've just never been in the same place at the same time before.

Today the delightful Mary Z (who writes "Z's World") and her husband John breezed through town.  They had flown in to meet John's sister Ann and her husband Al, driving north to where they were going to meet other family members for a week's vacation.

As they would be passing right through Woodland, which is 10 miles from Davis, and as they would be there at noon, she suggested we get together for lunch.  I chose Paco's Mexican restaurant because I knew it was very large, not usually very busy, a unique setting (as it used to be an old bank), and the food was good.

Perfect choice.  And perfect timing.  We arrived within 5 minutes of each other and it was like we had always known each other, as it usually is with these meetings after so many internet years as friends.  The reason we have become friends became clear when I heard her order her lunch:  chile relleno, with black beans, and salad with blue cheese dressing.  Water "and lots of it" as her beverage.  It was exactly what I had planned to order, down to the "lots of it" for the water.  

She's wearing that colorful scarf (her one big purchase in Cannes...a whole 4 Euros, John says) at a rakish angle because she had a fall on August 1 and broke the bone just below the head of the humerus.  She has a metal plate and screws in har arm, and the arm is in a sling, nicely camouflaged by the scarf.

We chatted away like we'd just seen each other yesterday, about dogs and trips and all sorts of things.  She excitedly showed me her new iPad and the things she is learning on it.  The hour just flew by and all too soon it was time to say goodbye and send them on their way.

What a delightful lunch (and thanks, John, for treating us!)

SpencerM.jpg (64603 bytes)In the evening we went back to Woodland for the concert of a young man named Spencer Micetich.  It was his senior concert of a few classical, but mostly musical theater pieces, some with a little help from his friends.  He has just graduated from high school and will be entering college in So. California.

I've never met him, though I interviewed him once on the phone.   I first heard of him when he was nominated for an Elly Award -- that's the Sacramento equivalent of the Tonys -- for his performances as Jean Valjean in the Woodland Opera House young people's production of Les Miserables.

It is the policy of the Davis Enterprise not to review young people's theater for all sorts of reasons, mostly having to do with uneven performances and stage mothers.  So I had not gone to see this production, though people told me it was wonderful.

I don't remember if I interviewed him after he was nominated or after he won -- I think it was after he was nominated.  I found him a very soft-spoken, self-effacing, pleasant young man.  Everyone told me that he was a nice as he sounded in the interview.  I was sorry I had missed his performance.

I actually saw him in an adult production of South Pacific, where he played Lt. Cable, the young man who falls in love with Bloody Mary's daughter.  In my review, I wrote this about his performance:
Micetich is a marvel. This young actor is only a senior in high school, yet he has a maturity far beyond his years and has already won an Elly for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in the Young People’s production of "Les Miserables." But here he is playing against an adult cast and holds his own beautifully.
When I saw he was giving this concert, I wanted to go and be supportive, though he won't know I was there, since this kind of thing doesn't get reviewed.  But I was able to hear him sing "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis and it's obvious why he won the Elly.  It was spine tingling.

I don't know what's ahead for young Micetich, but he has the potential to compete with the big boys and I hope that some day I will see him in a big role and remember when I didn't review him in Les Miserables because I didn't "do" young people's theater.  And feel I really missed something special.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Letters...We Get Letters...

81312sm.jpg (40710 bytes)I have had some wonderful letters from my Compassion kids lately.  In particular, there was this great letter from Shallon, from Uganda.   Some of the letter is in response to questions I have asked her. Compassion also sent me a new photo of her, at left.

My mother Beverly Syes,

Hi, Honey.  How sweet are you!  Let me take this opportunity to greet you.   Hey, my mother in Christ?  How are you and how is your life?  Back to me, I am okay.  I was very happy to see your letters and how isbaby Lacie?  In which part of Uganda did your husband and his sister visited?  

[I made a mistake and said that Alice Nan and her husband had helped to bring a well to Uganda; it was Kenya]

I fetch water for a distance of one kilometer away.  I go there every day.  No, there is no well around my home.

I can be happy when you come and give me a big hug.  In our home we have a newborn kitten.  At our school we have reached a topic called British Columbia in geography.   It is very hard like we are studying fishing in British Columbia that is very hard.

We are in rainy season.  We are planting beans and ground nuts.  Have you ever eaten beans?  How was Easter?

Keep with that spirit of loving me.  I am sending my prayers to you and your family.   In our country there is Queen Elizabeth national park. That is how God is great.

I was very surprised and grateful to hear you calling me a super star student and must maintain that you stated.  I need your prayers towards my studies because I changed the position in class and last term was 6th out of 35 and now I am 5th out of 39 students.   I am sending you my love to you.

In Corinthians, Chapter 1:4 there is thirty sayings so read them.  When I am at school, I spend my day studying and when I am at home I spend my day working.  When it is time to wake up I hear the bell ring.  I wake up and I wash plates and cups and sweeping compound.

How is  Polly now?  You ask me about my health.  How I have improved.   I eat beans and bananas.  I like to make small children smile.

I remain your daughter Katusiime Shallon.

There was also a new letter from Esther, a correspondence child from Indonesia:

Beverly Sykes -- The weather in May was indeed hot enough.   I felt that swimming was freshing enough for my body.

On last 21 April to be exact, my country celebrated Kartini day.  It's a symbol of Mrs. R.A. Kartini, as women emancipation up-holder.  So, the women in my house area carried out choir competition.

In Easter, we had devotion at school and egg decorating and Christmas card making competitions.  I got many things at Indonesian Red Cross, one of which the way to help people who are hurt.

Beverly Sykes' pictures are cute.  I was happy to receive them.  Thank you, Beverly, for sending me the pictures and letter.  I was so happy to receive them.

Fred, in the Philippines, always writes great letters, now even better because he is writing them himself, instead of having his mother write for him.

Dear Auntie Sykes,

Christian Greetings!

I will be in grade three this opening of classes.  During the camp, I went home every night and I just went back to the camp during the day.  I was so happy.  I am so kind to my mother and father and also to the teachers here in the church.  I joined the Daily Vacation Bible School.

Thank you once again for all you give.  The clothes, bible characters, car, candy and many more.  What is your favorite story in the Bible?  I would like to know.

Thank you for everything.  God bless you!  Please pray that I will be more kind.   I love you.


But this may be the favorite I've received in the last two weeks.   It's from Leniel, in the Dominican Republic, who is obviously a man of few words.

Dear Beverly Sykes,

I thank you for all of your letters and gifts.  Do you eat fried chicken?   Continue to pray for me.  I send you a hug.


Like castles?  There are, if I remember correctly, 160 castles in Germany (many just ruins).  We didn't see all of them, but it sure seemed like it!   Today I uploaded the "Upper Rhine" photos...if you like castles, this is the set for you!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Day of Not Much

Walt left for work at the crack of dawn, driving with co-workers (you know...from that office from which he retired several years ago).  I decided to spend the day working on more photos for Flickr.

As you can see, I made great progress, adding four more stops along the river.  The Nuremberg folder alone has 70 photos in it.  And these are just the ones I thought were GOOD.  There are a lot that didn't get chosen to go to Flickr.

But it's a lengthy process what with choosing them, editing some of them (there are two in particular that I worked on a long time, one deleting a person who got in the way and the other ... well, let's just say that I put two photos together and I'll bet you can't figure out which photo it is!).  It brought back nice memories of the trip and a longing to get back on the ship for some more of those gourmet meals!

One thing I was able to do today that I wasn't able to do when posting journal entries on the ship was to add photos of the Wurtzburg Residenz, built in the early 1800s as the home of the "prince bishops" appointed by the pope, until the people rose up and, if I remember rightly, killed one of them.

The Residenz is breathtakingly gorgeous, perhaps my favorite of all the buildings we toured...but cameras were not allowed, so I had to make do with postcards, which I could scan for Flickr.  The grand entrance alone takes your breath away and you can hear the collective groans of visitors with cameras as they get their first glimpse.

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The Gold room was spectacular...

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...but a bit too ornate for my tastes.  However, I absolutely loved this room.

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(If I remember correctly the souvenir shop is behind the door on the right).  What I loved about this room was that it was so over the top, but everything was so equisite in detail.  If you look at the swirly things on the ceiling, the left and the right, that looks like they are maybe dirty because they are darker.  When you are there they look like swaths of patterned fabric draped decoratively behind the plaster.  But actually the fabric, too, is plaster.  There were so many just delightful touches in this room that I would love to have taken pictures of.   They need much more detailed postcards!

So anyway, other than taking a shower, getting dinner put in the crock pot, and taking some time to watch the season finale of Rizzolli and Isles, all I did today was work on photos.  But it was fun.  I'm really close to the end of the Flickr posting.  It will be nice to come to the end of the trip.   Again.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I saw Isabel in the parking lot yesterday afternoon.  A small, middle-aged Latina who reminds me of how long we have lived in this town.

When we first moved to Davis, we were happy to note that a Lucky's grocery store was just a few blocks away.  I began shopping there regularly, and Isabel was a bagger.  She always had a big smile on her face and a cheery greeting.

Later, I was pleased to note that she had moved on to a checker, no longer handling the heavy bags, but firmly ensconced behind the cash register.  Still later, it was more difficult to reach the cash register because of the baby belly sticking out in front of her.

Lucky's went through changes.  During the height of the start of the movement for marriage equality in California, when gay couples were trying to win the right to marry, there was a big "marriage" announcement, when supermarket Lucky's "married" supermarket Albertson's.  Apparently Albertson's was the leader, since Lucky's was absorbed and we now shopped at Albertson's.  I was so angry with that foolish bit of publicity, since it seemed to easy to supermarkets to marry each other when real life gay couples were struggling to win the right to do the same thing.

Albertson's was our market for several years, as I watched Isabel get older, her child getting older too.  Then one day Albertson's disappeared and it was now Save Mart.  Same store, same employees, but different attitude. Save Mart seems...I don't know..."tired."  If you aren't quick with loading your groceries onto the belt, they assume you want groceries packed in plastic bags.   That's almost a mortal sin here in ecology-conscious Davis, where even paper is not the ideal and lots of people bring their own reusable bags.

Save Mart makes a big deal about customers checking out and bagging their own groceries (where paper is not even an option).  In the early morning hours, you can't find a checker and have to do your own groceries.  Isabel is frequently the employee who is there to make sure you do it right. Every time I make the mistake of shopping too early in the day, I get angry with myself as I grumble through trying to pack groceries as compactly as Isabel does.

I sometimes forget that next year we will have lived in Davis for 40 years, but when I look at Isabel and see how she has aged, I realize that we are now part of the "new-oldtimers."

I went to my mother's yesterday, to bring her the stuff I'd bought for her in Europe and show her 100 of our >1000 photos from the trip (about as much as I figured she could sit through).  We had a nice visit.  Her memory wasn't as bad as I feared it would be, though I heard the story of how she came to work for Hospice of Marin four different times.  She confuses it, now, with getting a job with Bank of America, and forgets that she wasn't living with my father at the time she started working with Hospice.  But Hospice has been a huge part of her life since 1976 and so it's understandable.  She has made some of her best friends working all these years at the Hospice thrift shop.  Her Mah Jong group has been a big part of her social life for so many years and it was a big shock when one of the members suddenly died in her sleep a couple of weeks ago.  Another member is sinking into Alzheimers, and sadly, the Mah Jong group is no more.

She fixed a toasted cheese sandwich for me for lunch and burned the bread badly.  I told her charcoal was good for you, and choked it down, following it with an ice cream cone to help overcome the burned taste.

 As I sat there talking to her, I realized that I could hardly keep my eyes opened, so I decided to take a nap, which I did, for about an hour.  It helped tremendously.

I drove home, inching along through bumper to bumper traffic for a time, stopping at one of my favorite places to take photos of some of the rotting boats, which have been sitting there for years.

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By the time I returned home, I was into Part 7 of the 7-part recording of Diana Gabaldon's "The Fiery Cross," so happy that the end of this great audio book is finally in sight.

I was so exhausted after dinner that I went to sleep at 9 and slept through until 6 this morning.  It wasn't a full day, but apparently big enough to wear me out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tea, Anyone?

I have probably mentioned before that Susan, who, with her husband, owns Logos Books, where I volunteer each week, is Char's cousin.  Actually she's Char's cousin's daughter.  Susan's mother, sadly, died several years ago.

It's because of Char that I became aware of Logos and I probably would not have volunteered to work there if there had not been the family connection.   I would thus have missed out on one of my favorite activities this year.

Susan has been suggesting that Char and Susan's sister Barbara (whom I had not met before), come up here to Davis and the four of us go out to tea.  At first Barbara was reluctant to leave the Bay Area for the heat of Davis, then Char and I went to Europe, but finally we settled on a date.

tea-list-interior-300x291.jpg (30751 bytes)We went to Tea List, a small tea shop which is just a few steps from Logos Books down a small alley.  The photo is from their web site and shows the small interior, nicely air conditioned.   The web site also proudly announces that they were selected "Best of the City 2012" in Sactown Magazine's June/July issue.
"Tucked in a quiet, greenery-filled nook in downtown Davis behind popular restaurant The Mustard Seed, the pocket-sized Tea List cafe couldn’t charm more if it tried…”
This is one of those delightful out-of-the-way places that you might never find if you didn't veer off the main street.  There is a sign on the street near Logos, but I had passed it week after week without ever stopping to investigate.

Sometime in the spring, I got to work early and decided to check out Tea List.  It was a lovely sunny day, with a nice breeze blowing and I sat at one of the outside tables and enjoyed my Earl Grey tea and read my Kindle until time to go to work.  I thought what a lovely, civilized idea a tea shop was and what a perfect place for this one.  I was delighted when Susan suggested that we meet there.

HiTsm.jpg (66850 bytes)We chose our tea first.  Since it was a hot day, we all went for iced tea.  Char and I had strawberry flavored green tea, while Susan and Barbara had some sort of peach flavored black tea.  What delicious tea!  It came in a little glass pitcher with a flat lid, filled with ice cubes and a few slices of strawberry.  The taste was mild, but tasty.

While we savored our tea, we were presented with a tray of our high tea goodies.  The bottom plate had four different kinds of finger sandwiches, a vegetarian choice, a chicken salad, a cucumber and cream cheese, and a ham, cheese and basil sandwich.  There were more than the four of us could eat (and the leftovers were packed up to bring back to Susan's husband, Peter, who was minding the store in our absence).

When we'd finished the sandwiches, we moved to the center dish, with scones (cream and jam provided), Napoleons, and some butter cookies with a chocolate ganache.

The small top shelf contained a selection of sliced ripe fruits.   The best peaches I'd tasted in years.  Thin slivers that had the deep flavor of a tree-ripened peach.

We lingered over our lunch and I had such fun listening to Char and her cousins reliving family memories.  Some I'd heard before, some I had not. Char's extended family is, shall we say, unique. By the time lunch was over, Char said surely I was a family member by now (I thought I had been a family member for years!)

We went our separate ways.  Barbara and Susan went off to get a milk shake for Peter, Char and I got back in her car and Char dropped me off here, before driving home.
During lunch we had shared with the sisters some of our crazy antics over the years, including the circus parade and our pumpkin pie escapades.  They laughed appropriately, so I felt moved to come home and check out the videos and send them links.

All in all this was just a delightful day, the kind that I wish I could have more often in this town!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I actually know nothing about zen, but I talk a lot about things like the zen of flying, getting into that relaxed mind state where you know everything is going to be terrible, but you're just going to go with it and not make things worse by getting upset.  

Today it was the zen of dentistry. I had my periodic cleaning with my hygienist Kristina.   I enjoy these dental visits, even when the scraping gets a bit energetic.   I've been meeting with Kristina 3x a year for several years.  We enjoy getting caught up on each other's lives before she starts the cleaning process. I've always just gone into as relaxed a state as I can, do deep breathing, relax all muscles, let my mind go blank and that pretty much takes care of any minor pain.  

I don't actually know if this is what "zen" is all about, but it's a good way to explain it to myself.  It's the techniques I learned way back when I was birthin' babies and doing LaMaze.

I try this zen in heavy traffic situations, or when I have pains anywhere in my body and in any situation where I am feeling stressful.  It almost always helps.

I'm trying to find out if this philosophy of my own kind of zen will help me in dealing with my mother.

Lemme tell you, I am so appreciating Walt's mother these days.  She saw the writing on the wall years befre she died and knew that sooner or later she was going to need help.  She went into a senior living facility, first in Sacramento and then in Santa Barbara.  As she began to need more help, it was an easy transition from independent living to assisted living, and ultimately to convalescent care until she died.  It may not have been the ideal situation, but it made it easier for her kids, especially as she began to need more and more care.

My mother is not going to go so gently into that good night.  We had an actual argument yesterday.  I can't remember the last time we had an argument.   But she announced very proudly that she was NEVER going to go to an assisted living facility.  She doesn't know a single person who has entered one who hasn't regretted it and she is going to die in her own home.

Her plan?  She is going to hire someone to come and live with her full time.  She will set aside the back half of her house for this person and this person will live there and take care of my mother.  She was so proud of herself when she announced this to me and asked what I thought.  I told her I thought it was a terrible idea.  She was shocked.

I pointed out to her that when people she loves come to visit she is ready for them to leave after 3 days.  I pointed out that she herself would not offer to rent half of her house to her best friend because she didn't think she could stand to live with someone.  I pointed out all the things she would lose by giving this mythical person (should she be able to find one) half her house.  I pointed out the expense.  I pointed out how difficult it would be to get the right person.  She has had housekeepers come once or twice a month and has had nothing but complaints about them.  I pointed out how it is not in her character to be waited on and if she had someone living there 24/7 (which she intends this to be), she will end up working herself to exhaustion cooking and cleaning for this person.

But she is adamant.  She will find the perfect person through her church, it won't bother her to give up half of her house, but she's not ready yet and she will know when she is ready, just like she will know when she's ready to give up driving.

I'm going to see her next week and it will be interesting to see how much more her memory has deteriorated. (Peach just spent a few days with her and said it was terrible.  But I know it comes and goes.)

I was so upset after I talked with her, raving about how considerate Walt's mother had been.  But then I calmed down.  I realized that she is a grown, independent woman and that I should give her a chance to try this plan.  Who knows?  Maybe there is someone out there who is looking for just such a job, with whom my mother can get along, and maybe she won't mind having her there all. the. time.  Maybe they won't get on each other's nerves. Maybe it will work.

And maybe pigs will fly.  But it is her life and I need to take a deep breath, relax all my muslces, let my mind go blank and let her do what she wants to do.  And pray things will work out the way she thinks they will.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday Stealing, Part 2

Yesterday's entry was last week's Sunday Stealing.  This catches me up with this week's.

1. How long have you been blogging?
Since March, 2000, or 12-1/2 years.  Daily. 

2. Did you go to college?

Yes, but only seriously for one semester.  After that I slacked off and stopped attending classes entirely in my third semester.  I was much happier when I went to work for the University.

3. Where have you traveled?

I've been everywhere, Man...I've been every where...  There was a similar question in last week's Sunday Stealing and I discovered I've been to 19 different countries as well to most of the United States.

4. Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

Nobody, now, but in high school, I was once mistaken for Judy Garland, which absolutely made my day.

5. What are your three biggest pet peeves?

* Political comentators who won't let the other guy get a word in edgewise (this is not a left/right situation, but both sides are equally to blame!)
* Bad grammar (sorry, but I'm a grammar snob)
* People who sign old blog entries, tell me that my blog is absolutely wonderful, and invite me to look at their blog, which is, of course, a commercial for something.  I always block them from commenting again.

6. What is your favorite movie?

Consistently the 1954 A Star Is Born, but also Affair to Remember, Dave, Air Force One, The Frisco Kid and a host of others.

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?

I don't drink many spirits these days, though I probably had more wine and beer on the cruise than I had all year.  Of the hard stuff, it depends, but I think I'm leaning toward beer, but only if it's very cold.  Of the soft stuff, definitely water.

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?

Read.  I can watch TV while doing something else, but reading I have to actually stop and sit down and do (unless I'm driving and listening to an audio book, of course)

9. What is your biggest phobia?

Semi trucks on the freeway, tipping over on top of me.

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past?

Ripping the back seam of my pants while in a local park and having to walk home four blocks with my butt hanging out.  I was in grammar school, and one of my fellow classmates saw me.  I was mortified.

11. What day would you love to relive again? Why?

There are several, and I feel very fortunate to haveso many.  It would be difficult to choose just one.

12. If your life was turned into a movie… what actor would your best friend think should play you?

I dunno.  Char, what do you think?

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?

I washed test tubes in a medical laboratory, worked as a biller clerk in a tool company, and worked in my high school office doing secretarial stuff.

14. Show us a picture from high school or college.

JrProm.jpg (34003 bytes)
Junior Prom, 1959

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?

Africa, traveling first class all the way, from business class airplane seats to places to stay while there.

16. Where do you see your life 6 and 1/2 years from now?

I'll be 76 by then.  I don't even want to think that far! but probably doing exactly what I'm doing now, except slower and forgetting more.

17. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why?

I think living a Ground Hog day life would be boring.  I don't mind getting older and embracing the changes, good and bad, that come with each age.  If I remained the same age, I'd have to watch all my friends get older.

18. What 5 songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? (You can pick "Middle School", "High School", "College", "Post College" or any format you like.)

High School was a lot of Johnny Mathis, Sam Cook, boy and girl trios and quartets.   College was more folk songs (Kingston Trio, John Denver. etc.), the last many years of my life it would be mostly show tunes.  (I skipped the infatuation with Elvis, the Beatles or any other performer(s) who caused teenagers to scream their heads off.)

19. Romney picked Paul Ryan to run as his veep. Any thoughts?

Yes, but this is a family blog.

20. Your chance: Pick a meme you've done for us to steal. Bud and Judd will visit EVERY post today. Feel free to say, "Bugger off", or anything like that.

Actually, I think every meme I've done for the past several years were originally stolen from Sunday Stealing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Stealing

Oh, you've missed memes, haven't you!  This is called the Useless Questions Meme from Sunday Stealing.
· Have you ever written a song?
Well, several, actually.  Not the music, but the lyrics, starting with a collaboration with my father when I was quite young, then lots of song parodies for various Gilbert & Sullivan productions.

· Have you ever been in the opposite sex's public toilet?

Not to use, but if you are ever in the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, a visit to the men's room is a MUST.  Walt was my look-out

· Are you superstitious?

Not really.  I think superstitious thoughts, but I never act based on superstitions. 

· Did you have a baby blanket? Do you still sleep with it?

My mother never told me that I had a special blanket (3 of our kids did) so no, I don't still sleep with it (it would be pretty ratty now, nearly 70 years old!)

· Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? If yes, how’d it work out?

I can barely even style my hair, so no, I've never tried to cut it.

· Have you ever sleepwalked?

Not that I know of.

· If you could be any age, what age would you be?

Young enough to make changes in my lifestyle, old enough to know most of the lessons I've learned over the years!

· What is your dream car?

I have no dream car per se.  Something comfortable, roomy, air conditioned, with good sound system, that runs reliably.  Is that too much to ask?

· What is your favorite cartoon of all time?

Bambi.  My favorite tear jerker.  I had hoped to watch it with Brianna when we gave it to her for Christmas, but never got that chance.

· If you were in a car sinking in a lake, what would you do first?

Try to remember everything I've ever seen on TV about people who survive being in a car sinking in a lake and how they did it.

· Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

Yes, from the end of the charity bike ride where I fell to Kaiser Hospital.

· How many foreign countries have you visited?

I think the final count is 19:  Canada, Mexico, Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, Monaco, Russia, Finland, Estonia, China, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, The Netherlands

· If you fell into quicksand, would you try to swim or try to float?

From what I understand, the more you move, the faster you sink, so I'd go for floating.

· Do you talk in your sleep?

I've never stayed awake to find out.

· Have you ever slipped in the bathtub?

No, but the older I get the more worried I get about it.

· If you could invite any movie star to your home for dinner, who would it be?

Jane Lynch

· Have you ever re-gifted?

Sure. Not often, but occasionally.

· If you could attend an Olympic Event, what would it be?

Platform diving, because I know something about it and wouldn't feel so out of it.   It would also be fun to attend an equestrian event.

· If you could participate in an Olympic Event, what would it be?

Is there a channel surfing event?

· If you won a $5,000 shopping spree to any store, which store would you pick?

Some sort of a computer store.

· What do you think is your best feature?

It used to be my hair, but I think that as I'm aging, it's changing.  It's been a few years since a hair cutter has remarked about how wonderful my hair is -- and that used to happen every time I went for a cut.

· If you were to win an Oscar, what kind of movie would it be for?

Surely a comedy, or a warm-hearted dog movie.  I'd be a good Benji Mom.

· Which of the five senses is most important to you?

Probably hearing, since there are a lot of things that hearing can compensate for that seeing can't (can't read? Listen to a book, for example)

· Would you be a more successful painter or singer?

A singer, but only because I don't have an artistic bone in my body.  I used to sing in choruses, but don't seem to have the voice any more.

· How many years will/did you end up going to college?

I was enrolled for a year and a half.  I actually participated for a semester.

· Have you ever had surgery?

Tonsillectomy when I was 4 years old.

· What do you like to collect?

I buy postcards and magnets when we travel, but I don't think of myself as a "collector."

· How many collectibles do you have?

"Collectibles" meaning something that are actually worth something financially, no.  "Collectibles" in stuff that you pick up as you travel, lots...none worth anything monetarily.

Lots of Europe pix finally uploaded to Flickr.